Monday, March 2, 2015

GO! Big Blog Hop: In-an-afternoon Organizer

Hello everyone and welcome to the AccuQuilt GO! Big Blog Hop - I am so extremely excited to be one of the stops on this inspiring journey with a project tutorial at each destination!

If this is your fist time visiting my blog, let me introduce myself...my name is Belinda and I am a needlework and quilting designer, teacher, creator, and finisher - my company is called Blue Ribbon Designs. Working with a needle is truly my passion, obsession, and career. One of my favorite endeavors is designing and creating samples for AccuQuilt.

First, let me start by introducing you to the GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter. The GO! Big is the latest and greatest addition to AccuQuilt's fabric cutter line...and did you see the keyword in it's name??...it is (drum roll) ELECTRIC...yep, that's right, no more cranking a handle - this electric fabric cutter does all the work for you! When I first saw the video for this spectacular fabric cutting machine, I nearly had to pick my jaw up off the floor...it is pretty impressive. Don't get me wrong, I adore my other three fabric cutters, but there is something special about this larger, faster, unique cutting system...I mean, who doesn't like to be on the "cutting edge"....


First of all, it is extremely simple to set-up, right out of the box....it is 23 pounds, which for me is easy to handle and easy to store...but you may wish to have it in a designated space...


ALL GO! Dies can be used in the GO! Big...and did I mention you can cut two 6” wide dies side by side at the same time?? In addition to the HUGE GO! die library, there are 5 NEW GO! Big dies that are used exclusively with the GO! Big... these die boards allow you to cut a whopping 12 ½” finished block with just one die (these five new dies include: GO! Big Square-10" (9 1/2" Finished)GO! Big Circle-4", 6", 7", 8"GO! Big Churn Dash-12" FinishedGO! Big Snail's Trail-12" Finished, and the GO! Big Double Wedding Ring-12 1/2"). I need to start saving my pennies, as all of the GO! Big dies are now on my wish list!




My project tutorial features the GO! Big Square-10" (9 1/2" Finished) cutting die...and the wonderful folks at Andover Fabrics provided inspiration in the form of fabrics from their Downton Abbey collections (Downton Abbey - Logos and Labels and gorgeous prints from Downton Abbey - The Downstairs Collection).  Once I knew my feature would be on the GO! Big Square and I saw the Downton Abbey fat quarters, I knew immediately what my project would be - a simple, yet useful wall organizer. Now, I know a square may seem a little bit boring compared to the other four new GO! Big dies...but is extremely versatile...and I think you will be quite amazed with what you can do with it...and I know I usually use bright and cheerful fabrics, but it was fun to step outside my box for this project...

Before I give you the instructions for the project, I thought I would show you just how simple it is to cut shapes perfectly and accurately with the GO! Big...here is a little video I shot in my studio...and what makes it most impressive - I shot this video with my smartphone, holding it in one hand while I cut a stack of GO! Big Squares (not a top quality video, but you get the idea)...that is just how easy it is to use the GO! Big...


Better yet, here is a quality video showing the AccuQuilt GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter in action...


We've learned all sorts of details about the GO! Big, so let's get right into my project tutorial (I know it's what you have been waiting for)...click on any image(s) for an enlarged view...


In-an-afternoon Organizer
A project/tutorial designed especially for the GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter
Finished Size:  10" x 25"

GO! DIES USED
FABRIC REQUIREMENTS

CUTTING DIRECTIONS

Kona Cotton by Robert Kaufman Fabrics - Natural:
  • Cut 2 - 10” x 25” rectangles
  • Cut 2 - 4½" (4" finished) squares
Assorted Downton Abbey fabric prints by Andover Fabrics:
  •  Cut 6 assorted - 10" (9½" finished) squares
Downton Abbey fabric print by Andover Fabrics:
  •  2" (1½" Finished) strips (or your favorite width for binding)
    • 5 strips if using a fat quarter
    • 2 WOF strips if using yardage
Fusible Fleece or Batting:
  • Cut 1—10” x 25” rectangle
  • Cut 6—10” x 5” rectangles (you can cut three 10" squares with the GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter and then sub cut each in half)


SEWING DIRECTIONS

1.       Layer one 10” x 25” rectangle of fusible fleece (or batting) between two 10” x 25” rectangles of Kona Cotton Natural. Fuse or pin baste fabric sandwich. Quilt as desired (I used 2” cross hatches).


2.       Press all six 10” squares of Downton Abbey prints in half. Place one 10” x 5” rectangle of fusible fleece inside the fold of each pressed in half fabric square. Fuse or pin baste fabric sandwiches. Quilt or topstitch if desired (I did a topstitch ¼” from the fold). These will be your six pockets.


3.       Measure down 6” from the top of the 10” x 25” quilted rectangle (base) and place the long raw edge (not the fold) of one pocket rectangle.  Pin and sew in place using a ¼” seam.


4.       Fold pocket up towards the top of the base and press. Baste sides of the pocket in place using a ⅛” seam allowance (your binding will cover these stitches).

5.       Measure down 5½” from the bottom of the first pocket and place the long raw edge (not the fold) of one pocket rectangle.  Pin and sew in place using a ¼” seam.


6.       Fold pocket up towards the first pocket and press. Baste sides of the pocket in place using a ⅛” seam allowance (your binding will cover these stitches).

7.       Measure down 5½” from the bottom of the second pocket and place the long raw edge (not the fold) of one pocket rectangle.  Pin and sew in place using a ¼” seam.


8.       Fold pocket up towards the second pocket and press. Baste sides of the pocket in place using a ⅛” seam allowance (your binding will cover these stitches). OPTIONAL: After basting the sides of pocket three, stitch dividing lines to make this pocket have several sections - the model was divided into four pockets.


9.       Measure down 2¼” from the bottom of the third pocket and place the long raw edge (not the fold) of one pocket rectangle.  Pin and sew in place using a ¼” seam.


10.   Fold pocket up towards the third pocket and press. Baste sides of the pocket in place using a ⅛” seam allowance (your binding will cover these stitches).

11.   Measure down 2¼” from the bottom of the fourth pocket and place the long raw edge (not the fold) of one pocket rectangle.  Pin and sew in place using a ¼” seam.


12.   Fold pocket up towards the fourth pocket and press. Baste sides of the pocket in place using a ⅛” seam allowance (your binding will cover these stitches).

13.   Place the final pocket even with the bottom of the base, covering part of pocket five and baste in place using a ⅛” seam allowance (your binding will cover these stitches) on three sides, leaving top of pocket open.


14.  Fold one of the 4½" squares in half diagonally (forming a triangle) and press. Place the folded square in the top left corner on back of the organizer, matching raw edges with the edges of the organizer and baste in place using a ⅛” seam allowance (your binding will cover these stitches). Repeat with the other 4½" square, basting it in the top right corner on the back of the organizer. These corner triangles on the back of the organizer are "back pockets" for hanging. I inserted a wooden slat (9" x 1½" x ¼”) with a sawtooth hanger (easily made with supplies purchased at a hardware store). You may choose to make a traditional sleeve instead.



15.   Add binding, mitering corners.




Now you can fill your In-an-afternoon Organizer with your favorite sewing/quilting notions...or stationery...or scrapbooking/crafting supplies...or whatever your heart desires. How quick, easy, and fun was that?!



I hope this blog hop post will entice you make an In-an-afternoon Organizer (or two) of your very own...and if you do, please share a photo with me - I would love to see your interpretation!

I want to thank you for visiting my blog today - I hope you have enjoyed your stay....are you feeling inspired?? I sure hope so!...and this is just one stop...there are nine other stops on this AccuQuilt GO! Big Blog Hop - all guaranteed to give you fresh new ideas - I personally follow all of the blogs on this impressive list, they are all worth a visit..
Be sure to explore my blog to see many more AccuQuilt projects and finishes...and please stop back soon...

Friday, February 27, 2015

Finishing Frenzy

It has been a productive week and I have been working on multiple stitching projects, quilting projects, and needlework finishing. The last couple days have been a finishing frenzy, as I worked on a pile of beautiful needlework pieces for a customer. I always enjoy finishing cross stitch projects, especially when the stitcher allows me to "finish them as I see fit"....I just love finding coordinating fabrics, treasures, and embellishments that work well with a stitched design...along with finding unique ways to make a project ready for display or use. I have also been working daily on some of my original quilting and sewing designs and writing patterns -  it is fun for me to see my projects come to life in fabrics...and I am still stitching every evening, working on magazine projects/features for publication later this year. Here is a sampling of what I worked on the last couple days...

Needles & Pins Heart Pinkeep by With Thy Needle and Thread
I had the perfect antique spool with the original  vintage thread
to match the design...

Cinnamon Hearts by Threadwork Primitives

Winter Grows on You by Waxing Moon Designs - I found the perfect
fabric for this zippered pouch (project bag) - it looks like a knitted sweater...

Winter by The Prairie Schooler (JCS Ornament Issue 2006)

Needlework Garden Accessory #4 Ruler Pocket - Olde Colonial Designs

I'm not certain of the title or designer of this one...it's familiar...
maybe a JCS Ornament issue design??...


I have a quiet house this evening, so I am going to clean up the studio and then get to work on my February QM Bitty Blocks (the month is almost over and the March block will be up very soon!)...then late night, I will be model stitching...I'll be back with another update soon...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ten Days of Inspiration:
The AccuQuilt GO! Big Blog Hop

If you are a quilter, sewist, or are on the lookout for creative inspiration (aren't we all), then I have some wonderful news for you! The Accuquilt GO! Big Blog Hop starts this week - that's right, it starts tomorrow...and it features 10 incredible bloggers over 10 days - each with a special project tutorial to get your creative juices flowing. All the stops will share a bit about AccuQuilt's new GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter...and each one will showcase a new GO! Big Cutting Die and a unique project tutorial that uses fabric prints from the Downton Abbey collections by Andover Fabrics (Downton Abbey - Logos and Labels and Downton Abbey - The Downstairs Collection). You will have to stop back here on Monday, March 2nd, as I will be the eighth stop on this blog hop journey - but you can get started first thing Monday morning...

Here is a complete list of the 10 stops...and you can read more about each of these participants on AccuQuilt's Blog:

  1. Mon 02/23 - Beaquilter: http://www.beaquilter.com/ - GO! Big Snails Trail
  2. Tues 02/24 - The Zen of Making: http://www.thezenofmaking.com/ - GO! Big Circle
  3. Wed 02/25 - May Chappell: http://www.maychappell.com/ - GO! Big Double Wedding Ring
  4. Thurs 02/26 - Cut To Pieces: http://cuttopieces.blogspot.com/ - GO! Big Churn Dash
  5. Fri 02/27 - Pleasant Home: http://www.pleasant-home.com/ - GO! Big Square
  6. Sat 02/28 - Free Motion by the River - http://www.conniekresin.com/ - GO! Big Snails Trail
  7. Sun 03/01 - A Quilting Life: http://www.aquiltinglife.com/ - GO! Big Churn Dash
  8. Mon 03/02 - Blue Ribbon Designs -YOU ARE HERE - GO! Big Square
  9. Tues 03/03 - Sew Many Ways: http://sewmanyways.blogspot.com/ - GO! Big Double Wedding Ring
  10. Wed 03/04 - Simple Simon and Co.: http://www.simplesimonandco.com/ - GO! Big Churn Dash
Here are the five new dies that work exclusively with the new GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter (each one is featured in the blog hop):



...and here is the spectacular GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter (and yes, you can cut two 6" wide dies side by side with six layers of fabric on each!)


I have been playing with my new GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter for a few weeks, and I can tell you, it is impressive - so quick, easy, and accurate! The GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter Starter Set includes the GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter, the GO! Flying Geese Die, a 6" x 12" cutting mat, plus a free 20-page pattern booklet which includes five Flying Geese patterns. It was really exciting for me to see the included pattern booklet, as I designed all five of the patterns included and made all of the samples....seeing them in print was a real treat! Here is a photo of the booklet and each of the projects I designed and created:



...and the most exciting news - I have designed a very special project especially for this blog hop and have written a complete tutorial with details and diagrams to share with you (you can see just a hint of it in the top right photo)....and I even shot a very short video in my studio. So, make sure you return on Monday, March 2nd...you won't want to miss the project tutorial for my "In-an-afternoon Organizer"...and be sure to visit the other nine stops (I promise, these talented and creative bloggers will not disappoint)...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday Snapshots

Fabric and threads for a pair of Halloween designs
I am working on for The World of Cross Stitching magazine...
I have been busy model stitching every night - still working on my special design for the October issue of Just Cross Stitch Magazine...and switching it up with a pair of Halloween designs for The World of Cross Stitching Magazine - they both have the same deadline (which will be here before I know it), so I have been keeping my needle super busy. I have been at the sewing machine too - working on a few quilting projects and making more machine embroidered Easter Egg ornaments for my Etsy shop.

This week, I received some wonderful cards and gifts in the mail to help me celebrate my birthday - I sure have some thoughtful and talented friends...I'm a very blessed girl! Here are some creative things I am "crushing on" this week...maybe they will inspire you...

A whimsical cupcake pincushion...

An incredible wool pincushion with handmade
pins made especially for me...

Beeswax treasures...

Somebunny loves me...isn't this handmade
gift fabulous?!

Owls, jewelry, and Starbucks...so very thoughtful...

It's all about the squirrel in this cross stitch ornament - a lovely gift!

Owl cross stitch made just for me - isn't it beautiful?!

Fabric inspiration and a fun new pattern...

Easter Egg Ornaments that can be found in my Etsy shop...

I love my new GO! Big...and will be participating in the
GO! Big Blog Hop that takes place next week...
look for my project/tutorial on March 2nd...

More on the GO! Big Blog Hop will be posted on Sunday...
stay tuned...
I hope you are having a wonderful weekend...and remember, it's the perfect day to create!

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Quilted Sampler

I know my stitching friends are familiar with needlework samplers...but are you familiar with a sampler quilt? Sampler quilts are made up of an assortment design blocks - they are often used as a teaching tool for beginner quilters to help with skill building or for more advanced quilters to show off their skills or a variety of quilt blocks. The sewist makes a range of quilt blocks and then those finished blocks are pieced together to make a full quilt.

Several months ago, AccuQuilt asked me to create a sample for their GO! Value Die Sampler Quilt which features twelve 8" quilt blocks that can can be created with one cutting die (the GO! Value Die). This sampler quilt is perfect for a beginner quilter and/or a beginner AccuQuilt GO! user, as it is straightforward piecing of squares, triangles, and strips - and you get to try out a variety of quilt blocks. Although this quilt looks a bit complicated, it only uses three cutting dies: the GO! Value Die, the GO! Strip Cutter-4 1/2" (4" Finished), and the GO! Strip Cutter-2 1/2" (2" Finished) - and it really is simple, if you break it down block by block. It only uses six fabrics...and if you are unhappy with any of the individual quilt blocks, AccuQuilt has 72 GO! Mix & Match 8" Quilt Blocks available, so you can easily make adjustments. I made this quilt in a couple days, but you could do one block a day (or one block a week or month) and have it done in no time.




If you are in the market for a GO! Fabric Cutter, the new GO! Fabric Cutter Starter Set includes the GO! Fabric Cutter, the GO! Value Die (55018), a 6" x 12" cutting mat, a die pick, and a 20-page pattern booklet which includes the 12 block patterns and the GO! Value Die Sampler Quilt pattern I am featuring today...so you can start creating this beautiful sampler quilt right away. If you already have a fabric cutter and/or you would like to have the sampler quilt pattern, you are in luck - for a limited time, you can download the pattern, along with instructions for any/all of the 72 - 8" quilt block patterns for FREE...yep, I said free!..and that is A LOT of sewing inspiration...

You can find the GO! Value Die Sampler Quilt pattern here:
http://www.accuquilt.com/go-value-die-sampler-quilt-pattern.html

You can find each of the 72 - 8" block patterns and instructions here:
http://www.accuquilt.com/patterns/block-patterns/go-mix-match-quilt-blocks.html

You can read more about these quilt blocks and the sampler quilt on the AccuQuilt Blog:
http://www.accuquilt.com/blog/72-go-quilt-block-ideas/
http://www.accuquilt.com/blog/53-free-quilt-block-patterns/



Believe it or not, AccuQuilt has asked me to make four more of these sampler quilts, and I enjoyed the first one so much, I took on this huge job...so I will be creating four more. This quilt is a great size at 48" x 48"...maybe in my "spare time", I can make a fifth one for myself - it would make a great lap quilt! If you want to brush up on your piecing skills...or try some new quilt block designs...or perfect your triangle piecing, then I hope you will try making this sampler quilt - I think you will be impressed with yourself and how quickly it comes together!